Scents of spring

Los Angeles Times

Southern California weather doesn't change too drastically from winter to spring and there's no specially branded latte being served at Starbucks to nudge us into the next season, but we can count on lighter fragrances to bring on the feeling of bright sunshine, blue skies and longer days.

Spring's newest fragrance releases are whisper soft but upbeat and bright with citrus, fruit, aquatic and floral notes — qualities many women look for when adding a new scent to their fragrance wardrobes. "Springtime always calls for a change of pace from the colder months, where people tend to prefer warmth, woods, spice and all things comforting," says Adam Eastwood, co-founder of, a website that sells hard-to-find fragrances from all over the world. "Every spring, without fail, people come looking for something fresh or floral or both. Here in Los Angeles, the pink jasmine that blooms in February and March seems to intoxicate us."

Ron Robinson, owner of Ron Robinson at Fred Segal and creator of the Apothia line of perfumes and candles, says women seek out bright citrus notes with leafy green accents as well as lighter floral notes, such as peony, and softer blossoms, such as orange and plum.

"There is a very different feeling that occurs as the sun shines and warms our bodies," Robinson says. "It's best to lighten and freshen the scents we wear."

From a mermaid-inspired aquatic concoction to a spin on a Calvin Klein classic, here are the newest spring scents hitting stores this season.

Jo Malone Tea Fragrance blends

$55 for each 30 ml bottle at

This limited-edition collection of tea-based scents gives the tradition of tea service a modern twist. Each of the four fragrances is based on blends of tea or tea accompaniments, such as the Sweet Milk scent that would work for someone who likes vanilla, chocolate, coconut or other creamy notes in perfume.

There's also a Sweet Lemon scent, which fortunately smells nothing like an aerosol can of Pledge. It's light, a little sugary and smells like it has a hint of mint in it.

The Fresh Mint Leaf scent is nice and airy but smells a little too similar to our favorite pack of gum, mid-chew. Not bad for fighting bad breath, but maybe a little too clean and minty for the skin. It could be nice layered with another one of the scents. As each formula is subtle, they lend themselves to being layered and mixed together, kind of like, well, tea.

Malone has taken her famous Grapefruit scent and mixed in an herbaceous Assam black tea. The result is a beautiful blend of smooth tea punctuated with bright notes of soft citrus.

Musky Earl Grey tea is freshened up with cucumber, bergamot and vanilla. This is surprisingly sweet and smells pretty spot-on to a cup of Earl Grey with milk and sugar.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh

$85 for 4.2 fl oz at

A warm-weather version of Marc Jacobs' Daisy, this formula is packed with fruity overtones that scream for a stroll down Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade to duck into youth-driven stores like Forever 21 and Zara. The hardest-hitting floral note here is the violet, which comes through as sugary sweet and candy-like, along with top notes of red grapefruit and pear and base notes of musk, plum and cedar wood.

G of the Sea

$45 for 30 ml at Sephora

This is the first stand-alone fragrance for the Gwen Stefani or "G" character in the collection of Harajuku Lovers perfumes. For the first time, the blond is not flanked by the other Harajuku girl characters that are also faces of the Harajuku Lovers perfumes, and her independence seems to work. G of the Sea is bright, light and fresh — and good for anyone who likes an aquatic scent sparkling with tart apples. Water lily and berries accompany the tart apples as top notes, freesia and jasmine sit in the middle, and that base is made up of musk and amber.

Eternity Summer

$56 for 3.4 fl oz at

There's really no better name for this scent than Summer. It's creamy but light and smells like bronzed summer skin after a fresh coat of sunblock has been applied. The notes of cilantro and violet give this a slightly green quality without being too crisp or citrusy. There are also notes of gardenia and lotus lily in the middle, as well as creamy musk, mimosa and fig wood as the base.

Banana Republic Wildbloom

$48 for 1.7 fl oz at Banana Republic

The guava really stands out here, almost to the point that it takes on a slightly medicinal tone. But pink grapefruit keeps it fresh and bright, and patchouli and sandalwood bring it back down to earth. This is a good scent for the free spirit who likes a mix of fruity and earthy. Pear skin and kumquat round out the fruity top notes and Hawaiian pikake and blue orchid add to the sweet floral notes. The base is a mix of patchouli, sandalwood and tonka.

Kenzo L'eau de KenzoAmour

$72 for 2.4 fl oz at Bloomingdales and Nordstrom

This is sweet and a bit powdery, definitely not what you would think of as a spring or summer scent upon first whiff. But it dries to let the bitter orange shine and the vanilla come through for a mix that smells like a very fancy Creamsicle. Bergamot and tea join the orange, adding even more of a green element. Peony and ylang ylang add a floral touch, and the base of vanilla and musk give it a little power at the end.

Flora by Gucci Eau Fraiche

$80 for 2.5 fl oz at Macy's

This is truly for the woman who wants something lighter for spring and summer without abandoning her sense of sophistication. The scent is based on Gucci's Flora fragrance, released in 2009, but it's gotten a warm-weather makeover with hints of kumquat and citrus added to the sandalwood and patchouli of the original fragrance. Flora is definitely for the woman who likes a floral scent and leans toward the heavier side of perfume, even when it comes to spring.

Hermés Un Jardin Sur Le Toit

$125 for 3.3 fl oz bottle at Hermés boutiques and

Just owning a Hermés perfume bottle makes one feel like a grown-up — and the scents housed inside each glass container are certainly befitting someone with a sophisticated nose. The French luxury house's newest fragrance is no exception, though compared with classics like 24 Faubourg, Un Jardin Sur La Toit is more modern, clean and very, very green. This is the fourth fragrance in the Hermés Garden collection, a line of scents inspired by exotic gardens from all over the world, but this newest one is perhaps most personal and indicative of the brand's history since it was at the rooftop garden of the Hermés flagship store at 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris where in-house Hermés perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena found his inspiration for this scent.

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